Tips on Growing Tomatoes Video


Tips on Growing Tomatoes Transcript

My name is Scott. Thanks for being here, we appreciate it. It’s a lot of fun to be on the other side of the country, even if it is a little chilly. We don’t mind that a bit. It’s nice to come over here and realize rain does still fall from the sky. We’re from California. This event was born in California. We have 6 events across the state in CA, and last year, it was nice enough of White Flower Farm to come host us in our first year, last year, so we’re thrilled to be back.

As you go through the piles there, you‘ll find some tomatoes that are stretched out and kind of rangy, like this one, others that are a little tighter, and a little more stocky, which one’s better? Well, there you go, some people like that, some people like that, and that’s the only difference. That’s the only difference. This one is just as healthy as this one, and when you put these tomatoes in the ground, I don’t care how tall it is, I only want to see 4-5” of tomato sticking out of the ground. So when you plant them, if you planted them next to each other, you’re going to bury this one. You’re going to bury the stem all of the way up to there. That fibrous stem will root, and you‘ll have a sturdier plant, you have more roots immediately for water absorption, and nutrient absorption; it’s just smart because this part of the plant will get really stocky, and look like that in about 3 days. So that’s where it goes. This one, you can bury this a little bit, you can bury this a couple inches.

Take off all of the leaves, anything that’s going to be below ground. Take it off, and you’re good to go. When you put them in the ground, find a sunny spot; tomato’s a field crop, they want as much sun as you can give them, especially here. We want heat. Don’t put them in the shade. You won’t grow tomatoes in the shade. If you ‘ve got a partially sunny space that you’re not sure about, you better try a cherry there first, because that’s going to be the most amenable to a spot that’s not fully sunny.

When you put the tomato in the ground, if you have a really nice area in your garden that you’ve used, and is nicely composted and all, you’re pretty much set. Even if you do, and especially if you don’t, add something to that mix before you put the tomato in the ground. Buy a great bagged product; that usually translates to expensive. Don’t get chicken manure and don’t find steer manure and put it into the ground. Find a good bagged mix and amend, change your soil composition by adding that. That’s what you want to do before you put this puppy in. Once you do that, you plant it out, again, at the depth that we talked about. I pulled off the leaves of this one earlier to talk about. If you have a plant like this that’s really long, and you want to bury it to to here, because your soils are still cool, and because if you put these roots down low, you‘re going to find cooler yet soil still, right? Probably a good idea for you in CT to trench it; to dig a trench, insert the plant like this. Soil’s here, got it? This is just sticking out of the edge, in 3 days, that’s going to be all straight and coming, aiming for the sun. No sweat, and you‘ve put all of that root ball into warmer soil, which is a good thing. Do this and it goes into cooler soil and it’s liable to go, “Eww, I better not start growing yet, gotta wait a little bit,” and it won’t be as happy.

So, when you put your plant in, fertilize it. You already amended your soil so you have a good growing medium, you need to give it some vitamins, whether you use something from White Flower Farm, a grow fertilizer that’s 18-18-18, or use an organic that’s going to have much lower numbers, whatever it is, balance is the key. The 18-18-18 makes sense; 8-8-8 makes sense--that’s what my grandfather used to use; never strayed from that, 8-8-8, that’s all he would do. If you’re going to use an organic, you’re probably going to find 4-7-5 kind of numbers on there--it’s all good. You do what you want in your garden--chemical, organic--you decide. How much water do you give a tomato? Does it want a lot or a little? They will take a lot of water, but you don’t want to overdo it. It’s really important that you don’t overdo it. When you fertilize, you’re going to do it when you put the plant in, and you’re going to fertilize again in about 5 weeks when most of the plants start to flower, or you’re seeing a good amount of flower going on. That’s it, especially if you have good soil. The plant will take care of itself.

As you get to the end of the season, a couple of hints as ripening comes on. We’re all anxious for tomatoes, we are, especially cherries, but if you pick the minute things turn colors, you might be disappointed. You might be disappointed. So, especially a cherry, let it sit on the vine just a little bit before you pick it. Sometimes if you have critters, a lot of people have critters, and you have to grab those tomatoes the minute they begin to color-up, a lot of people do. If you do, pick them and put them on a counter in the kitchen, you‘ve done that before, let them fully ripen. You shouldn’t sacrifice anything in taste. Try to avoid the sunny window, however, because it will happen under the counter over here or on the table, it will happen. Sun tends to do the same thing a refrigerator will do to flavor--it can diminish it. So find a place in the kitchen where you can leave it a couple of days, it colors up, then use it. Then you’ll be set and you’ll sort of get what you paid for and that’s important.

For more information on our plants and cultural recommendations, please visit our Gardening Help section of our website.